NiteTalk: Capitol Hill Insider Says Obama “Had to Compromise” on Tax Cuts

Henri Thompson, Maryland's Deputy Director of External Affairs, spoke with Niteside about life in D.C., being inspired by President Obama and why he never wants to move into the Oval Office, himself.

What's a day like in the life of the Deputy Director of External Affairs? Busy! I'm responsible for helping manage millions of dollars of the states pension system, advocating for our interest in the Maryland general assembly, and interfacing with the media daily. 

As someone with a masters in computer science, what made you decide to dive into politics? I was very inspired after seeing President Obama speak at the Democratic National Convention in 2004. I was so inspired that I ran for a state house seat in my hometown of South Carolina but lost, however that didn't stop me from being motivated to stay involved.

Has the energy changed in D.C. or is it still the same as before the President arrived? I think it changed for a while and then reality set in that he couldn't snap his fingers and make things happen in an instant like so many wanted. 

How’d you feel when the Republicans took over the house again in November? I was disappointed like a lot of people, but it proves that democracy does work no matter what side of the fence you fall on.

As a deputy director whose in charge of large pensions for the state, how’d you feel about the tax cuts being extended? I think [President Obama]  had to compromise for the sake of the American people. If he played the games that a lot of Democrats on Capitol Hill wanted to play, millions would be without unemployment benefits. He did what he had to do to protect the people, but also his re-election as well.

When Obama first ran there were a lot of young people involved, that’s not the case anymore. Why? I think the American people just lost the motivation because of the economy. He was someone that gave us hope as a country that we haven’t seen in a long time, so we thought he could change it all over night. I don’t think young people have completely dropped out, I think they just need to be motivated again.

Would you ever want to be President? No. While I love serving the public and being engaged in politics, I wouldn't want that job. 

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